This is the first step - Praekelt Foundation will use the incubator programme as a springboard to empower hundreds of other organisations to create sites and services, for the Free Basics by Facebook platform and the web, by opening up the technologies and strategies for public access.
The documentation produced by Praekelt Foundation, with contributions from Torchbox
, will also allow other developers to add to and augment the open source technologies created. To inspire organisations outside of the incubator, the journeys of each of the partner organisations will be recorded and published as instructive case studies, through a community-driven blog.
Launched in 2014, Internet.org is a Facebook-led initiative bringing together technology leaders, non-profits and local communities to connect the two thirds of the world that don't have internet access. South Africa, Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania, and Kenya are among the 29 countries across the globe now connected through Internet.org. Mobile phone users in these countries now have access to a set of websites and services with no data charges, in categories including maternal health, education, news updates, as well as local information.
The aim of the Praekelt Foundation and Facebook incubator partnership is to increase and add to the mix of free websites and services available to users on this platform. The partnership will focus on providing the right tools - as well as content, capacity building and leadership support - to organisations working in the social change sector.
"We're excited to partner with the Praekelt Foundation to provide more organisations and content creators with the tools and support they need to bring their services to Free Basics. The incubator programme will help developers bring important health, education and jobs information to the more than one billion people with access to the Internet through Free Basics," commented Ime Archibong, director of strategic partnerships at Facebook.
A human right
"Praekelt Foundation believes that access to essential information and basic services is a human right. When people have access to the tools and knowledge that the internet and other digital communication technologies provide, they have access to opportunities that will make their lives better," Praekelt group founder and CEO, Gustav Praekelt added.
"More than one billion people now have free access to potentially life-saving information via Internet.org and its Free Basics platform. We've never seen our work reach so many people so quickly, but there is so much more that can still be done - and that is where the Free Basics incubator partnership with Facebook comes in."